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How To Find A Counselor In Your Local Area

If you are not a student or if you think you might need counseling services that are different than what Counseling and Psychological Services offers, here are some tips for finding a provider.

Mental health counseling is provided by psychologists, licensed mental health counselors, licensed social workers, and licensed marriage and family therapists.  When seeking out a counselor, it helps to consider factors such as insurance, employee assistance programs, cost, counselor availability, counselor focus, and whether you think the counselor would be a good fit with who you are.

Counseling is often more cost-effective if the counselor is in your insurance network. Many counselors will indicate on their website which insurance panels they are on. It is often easier to start by contacting your insurance company and asking them to email you a list of providers who are affiliated with them in your area. 

Some counselors are not on insurance panels, but will provide you with a super bill that you can submit to your insurance company for a possible reimbursement. This might mean that you pay more than a traditional co-pay, so you would want to check with your insurance company on that option. 

Many companies offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides some counseling services. Check with your employer's human resources department to see if this is available. 

At the University of West Florida, the EAP is available for staff, faculty, graduate assistants, and OPS employees. Aetna Resources for Living is UWF's employer-sponsored program, available at no cost to employees and members of their households. That includes dependent children up to age 26, whether or not they live at home. 

Some services include:

  • Emotional well-being support for stress management, family issues, depression, anxiety, substance misuse, and more (this benefit allows six (6) sessions per different life event).
  • Daily life assistance with child care, parenting, special needs, school, and financial aid research, etc.
  • Online resources such as a discount center, webinars, video resources, articles, and self-assessments.
  • Legal services and consultations for wills and documentation preparation, mediation services, real estate transactions, and more. 
  • Financial services, including consultation on budgeting, mortgage and refinancing, credit and debt issues, tax and IRS questions, etc.

Services are confidential and available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. To access services, you may call 1.800.272.7252 or visit Resources for the Living Login, username: UWF and password: UWF.

The co-pay that you would pay a counselor may differ depending on the type of insurance you have. 

Some counselors do not take insurance and only accept direct payment from you. There is not a set price for this, so you would benefit from checking the fees to make sure they fit your budget.

If you do not have insurance and it is cost-prohibitive for you to pay for therapy, look to see if any counselors/agencies mention that they offer a sliding scale. A sliding scale is a fee that is based on your income. Call our office if you need information regarding agencies that offer a sliding-scale fee. 

The wait time to see a counselor can vary a great deal. Some counselors may not have openings at all. That is because they do not want to take on a bigger caseload than they can effectively support at any given time. Others may not have an opening for a month. Others may be able to get you in within a week. We want to mention this so that you don't get discouraged if you need to contact several counselors until you find one who has openings at that time. Don't give up. There are counselors who are accepting new clients. They may just not be the first ones that show up on your internet search. If you are experiencing an emergency, then use the resources that are listed on our emergency services page.

Check the websites of counselors to see if they indicate that they work with issues consistent with those you want to work on in counseling. Also many counselors will describe a little bit about how they work with clients. This can help you get a sense of whether their style matches what you are looking for. 

Additional Resources for Selecting a Counselor

  • Psychology Today: Many counselors provide thorough information about their services on Psychology Today. Click on the "find a therapist" link in order to review many of the therapists in your area. You can filter counselors by zip code, counseling concerns, and insurance accepted. 
  • Counseling and Psychological Services: Call Counseling & Psychological Services at 850.474.2420 and ask for referral information.
  • 211: Call 211 in order to ask about agencies offering sliding scale counseling in your area.